Residents from Carolina Meadows, a retirement community in Chapel Hill, hosted a virtual conference last week to discuss an ongoing project that works to document the effects of COVID-19 on their lives and on the community.
The project, “Our History: Pandemic at the Meadows," was launched last May in partnership with the Chapel Hill Historical Society.
While the first component of the project, a compiled book of stories on staff and resident experiences, has been published, others are still in the works, such as a time capsule, recordings of oral histories and a 30-minute documentary film.
Don Stedman, who created and is leading the project, said it's important to capture how the pandemic affected Carolina Meadows.
"One of the things that motivated me was that I've learned over the years that there's a healing effect of people telling their stories, telling life stories," Stedman said.
He said the idea behind the project began with the idea of creating a time capsule, which is set to be opened on Carolina Meadows' 50th anniversary — approximately 15 years from now.
The contents inside the time capsule initially consisted of a wooden cabinet that includes masks, a test kit, a scrapbook of newspaper clips, public documents and photos by resident Dixie Spiegel.
But it has come to encompass a wide variety of relics and items that represent how Carolina Meadows has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Residents are able to add items until the capsule closes, Stedman said.
In addition to the time capsule, the project also features audio recordings of residents' experiences during the pandemic.